Imagine Cup 10:30 AM update - 3 1/2 hours to go!

About a hour ago the IT competitors were judged on their ability to meet a technical challenge. Amazingly all six passed with flying colors. We designed the competition to be super-hard. Basically they are building the whole infrastructure for a company starting from 4 bare-metal servers, a laptop, a requirements document and an MSDN Universal subscription.

In 24 hours not only they have managed to set up the whole system, inlcluding file, print and exchange servers, mail, VPN, firewalls, management, etc etc. - they have done that at the same time they have met 5 challenges including power outages, service interruptions, hacker attacks and a 'stolen laptop'. I wonder how much of this could be done in the same 24 hour period using Linux instead of Windows Server. Maybe next year we give students their choice of operating system. I would be interested to see how much time they spend downloading updates and solving interop conficts.

To make sure we had a challenge hard enough for the brightest kids in the world, we enlisted the help from Convergent Computing(CCO) who have been simply great to work with. Rand Morimoto, the CEO of the company, is a security advisor to the White House on cybercrime and cyber terrorism. The team sitting here in Japan have collectively written more than a dozen books and they have completed every certification known to man. The company is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies all over the world. Now imagine, these guys are absolutely impressed with the skills of the competitors in Yokohama.

I cecked on the Visual Gaming room a few minutes ago. From the 6 High School teams and 6 College teams, there are two teams from Poland and two teams from Serbia. Impressive. I talked with the Office Design team from Costa Rica, they are presenting their applciation to the judges at noon. The team built a tourism applciation on top of office that uses web services, MapPoint, machine translation, and other leading-edge technologies. I also talked to the Brazilian team. They totally get it. Their applications are built on top of Office to make the processes human-process centric, based on the way we work everyday. I firmly believe Office applications will have a dramatic impact over the next few years on the way most people work. 

Every competitor is getting ready for the final stretch. The IT guys are focused con completing all the tasks but they are a bit nervous about when will the siren go off again to present the next challenge. Seems like every Short Film team is back at their editing stations adding music and putting the final edits on their productions. The algorithm teams must be working on the last set of problems and optimizing their code using the test harnesses. Back to you in a few hours...